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Work Behavior & Communication

Like everywhere in the world, every country has its own characteristics when it comes to behavior and communication at work. Different gestures and salutations can have different meanings.

Kommunikation auf der Arbeit

Like everywhere in the world, every country has its own characteristics when it comes to behavior and communication at work. Different gestures and salutations can have different meanings. There are no fixed rules for business etiquette in Germany and the working culture varies from branch to branch. But in general it is best to show yourself from the formal side and then become more and more relaxed in your day-to-day work step by step.

Salutation

At work, you'll have to deal with a lot of people every day. It is important to know that you use in Germany general the formally addressed „Sie“. Using the first name and the "Du” are reserved in Germany for friends and family. However, if someone offers you the "DU", you should accept this. He or she is trying to be friendly and reduce hierarchies. The criteria for when and who is allowed to say “du” varies from industry and company. It is best to start by looking at how your colleagues introduce themselves and follow this example.

Greetings

In some countries physical closeness shows sympathy and solidarity, while in Germany physical distance is very important. Hugging another person and kissing on the cheek are usually not appropriate at work. The general way of greeting people in Germany is to say hello including a handshake. Depending on the time of the day, you can also greet people with "Guten Morgen", "Guten Tag" or "Guten Abend". Some regions also have their own traditional greetings such as "Grüß Gott", "Servus" or "Moin". Not greeting colleagues is considered rude. Even if you do not yet know each other personally, a friendly "hello" is expected. If you introduce yourself, mention your first name and surname and your position in the company. Also in telephone conversations and e-mails the person is addressed with the title Herr / Frau and the surname.

Communication

Communication in Germany is generally regarded as very direct. Don't feel offended if your colleagues say their concerns or opinions very soon without much small talk. Your colleagues will appreciate your directness. Small parties and excursions such as Christmas parties and company trips are part of Germany's business culture. They are intended to improve cooperation in the company and have a social aspect. In these situations, communication is more relaxed but always professional.

Outfit

Generally, work clothing in Germany is conservative. But this varies from city to city and branch to branch. For example, the dress code in start-ups, the creative scene and the IT sector is more relaxed than in a bank. Here it is also better to start dressing more conservatively and to adapt step by step to the everyday working life.

These are just a few tips. Look to your colleagues, address cultural differences and don't worry too much. Behaviour & communication at work are always changing and not carved in stone.

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